Monthly Archives: April 2015

Movie Review: “Into the Woods”

I’ll be up front and honest with all of you; there were three reasons and three reasons alone I wanted to see this movie:

  1. The plot sounded interesting.
  2. Craig Owens
  3. Captain Kirk

Because, really, how can you pass up a musical after you learn that Craig and Kirk are going to be singing in it? I was right, too, in that the plot was interesting although the ending was a tad depressing. It was something along the lines of, “And those that didn’t get killed lived happily ever after.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Into the Woods is the story of a childless baker and his wife who must venture…into the woods…near their village to collect the ingredients that their next-door witch needs to reverse the curse that rendered them childless in the first place. Along the way, they cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and his beanstalks, Rapunzel, and Cinderella. All of these fairytale characters have wishes of their own they want to come true, but the witch shows them all that they have to be careful what they wish for…and that there comes a time when you have to take responsibility for your own choices.

All in all, it was good–not bad, not great, just a solid good. It wasn’t a happy ending per se, but I still think the characters all learned something greatly important, namely that we are all responsible for the choices we make. Blaming others for our bad decisions doesn’t accomplish anything.

I must say that I really liked Meryl Streep as the witch. I haven’t seen a lot of movies with her, but she gave a pretty powerful performance, especially with “Stay with Me” and “Last Midnight”. As a Whovian, I was thrilled to see James Corden in this, and he brought his solid, sensible charm to his role as the baker. Honestly, I’d like to see him in more movies; he’s extremely talented. And the award for Most Surprising Performance goes to Chris Pine for the simple fact that I did not know he could sing (and for all I knew, this was going to be another Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman miscasting debacle), but he actually wasn’t too bad. In fact, if they wanted to slip a musical number into Star Trek Beyond (the next Star Trek movie), I wouldn’t complain.

Oh, and I wanted to mention how I impressed I was that they included more of the original Cinderella story than you usually see in adaptations of that particular fairytale. By that, I mean they included the parts where her stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to get the slipper to fit so they can marry the prince. That part is usually edited out of most versions, so I was somewhat surprised to see it included.

Would I recommend Into the Woods? Yes, I think I would. I’m not saying you’ll like it, but I think you should at least give it a chance.


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Probably the Most Awesome Middle-Earth Thing I’ve Ever Learned

Remember back in October when I was pondering the importance of Men in Middle-Earth and wondered if the Incarnation was supposed to have happened since Middle-Earth was supposed to be an older version of our world? Well, I found my answer.

It was. It totally was going to happen.

In the tenth volume of The History of Middle-Earth, titled Morgoth’s Ring, there’s a section called “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”; it’s a conversation between the Elven king Finrod Fegalund and the human lore master Andreth on the differences between Elves and Men (mainly immortality vs. death). During the course of the conversation, Andreth mentioned a prophecy passed down among the humans that Eru (the Middle-Earth name for God) would enter Ea (one of their names for Earth) to save his Children. This was the first time Finrod had heard of this prophecy, and both he and Andreth were confused as to how Eru could enter Ea in the first place.

But did you see that part? Eru was going to enter Ea and save his children. The Incarnation was totally going to happen, folks. Of course, there are more questions now–was He still going to be human? (Probably yes, since Men were the first ones to learn about it.) Would the effects of the Redemption (however it would be achieved here) apply to Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits, too, or only to Men? Are we going to shoehorn Ents in here, too? Is it possible that one of the tasks of the Blue Wizards, in addition to battling Sauron in the Eastern countries, was to prepare those countries for Eru’s coming? Could I overthink this any more?

As far as I know, Tolkien never got as far as actually writing the Incarnation into the rest of the Middle-Earth legendarium, but just the fact that it was slated to be in there is, in my completely unimportant nerdy Catholic fangirl opinion, pretty awesome.

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Two-for-One Nerd Update: “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Force Awakens”

It seems that a lot has been going on in geeky realms while I have been busy with other, less-exciting aspects of life, but now that I have some free time again, I am determined to summarize some of what I’ve learned about the two movies I am getting really excited to see, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Wow, that was a long sentence.

Beauty and the Beast

I may have been disappointed about my dream cast not coming through, but this little bit of casting news almost completely makes up for it–Ian McKellan is going to be in it! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Magneto/Gandalf/elderly Sherlock Holmes has joined the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth. That’s not necessarily a role I would have associated with him, but, hey, it’s Ian McKellan. He’ll be awesome.

They’ve also cast Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Martha’s sister Tish from Doctor Who‘s third season) as Plumette (Lumiere’s feather duster girlfriend), and Audra McDonald as Madame de la Grande Bouche (Belle’s wardrobe). Yep, this is shaping up to be a pretty exciting movie.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

So…this happened yesterday.

I can feel my skepticism melting away each time I watch this trailer, which is not necessarily a good thing. Return of the Jedi was a good way to end the series; I’m still not sure The Force Awakens is a necessary addition. But…I watch the ships and the battles and the light sabers, and I can’t muster enough energy to care that it will likely end badly like another franchise I could name (coughHobbitTrilogycough). My younger, more pathetically nerdy self is just excited that Star Wars is returning to the big screen.

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Easter 2015

And we’re back to Easter! Lent is over; Christ has triumphed over death, and man is able to enter Heaven again! For today’s post I wanted to share with you a recording of O Filii et Filiae, one of my favorite Easter hymns.

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Good Friday 2015

Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World.

On this Good Friday, let us never forget that Christ died for our sins. We are just as guilty as those who cried out for His Crucifixion and those who nailed Him to the Cross. It’s so easy to point to the sins of others and say, “Christ had to die to atone for such a horrible sin!” But all sin is horrible; all sin separates us from God. We all nailed Him to the Cross today.

The good news is that He forgives us and loves us anyway, and that should motivate us to change the way we live our lives. He died for us, and the best way to thank Him is to live our lives so that they please Him.

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Holy Thursday 2015

Is it just me, or did this Lent feel as though it passed really quickly this year? No matter; since it’s Holy Thursday once again, I thought it apropos to bring this back to everyone’s attention. It’s a little presentation on the connections among the Passover sacrifice of the Old Testament, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, and the Mass as we know it today. It was written by a man who was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism, so hearing his research on something I’ve known since I was little is really fascinating.

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